The Watering Hole, Monday, February 20th, 2017: ICYMI

A few articles from the past week:

I noticed something in one of Raw Story’s articles on Stephen Miller, and had to look into it:

“Though he denies it, Miller is believed to have written a significant portion of the travel ban, with some help from Steve Bannon and congressional aides sworn to contractual secrecy.[emphasis mine]

The Daily Mail article linked to in the above excerpt had more:

“Senior House Judiciary Committee staffers helped produce President Donald Trump’s controversial immigration ban, even as top lawmakers and cabinet heads were left in the dark.
The aides were required to sign nondisclosure agreements as they labored in secret to help draft the ban, Politico reported.

Trump’s transition brought in the Hill aides during the transition, while it was still rushing to staff the administration.”

And the Politico story had even more:

“The work of the committee aides began during the transition period after the election and before Donald Trump was sworn in. The staffers signed nondisclosure agreements, according to two sources familiar with the matter. Trump’s transition operation forced its staff to sign these agreements, but it would be unusual to extend that requirement to congressional employees.”

Now, wait a minute – since when do the president-elect’s staffers and congressional aides sign non-disclosure-agreements?  Aren’t any of them subjected to any vetting process, any background check, in order to work for the president-elect, or for congresspersons and congressional committees?  These are all government public servants, not trump’s TV employees!

I honestly don’t know anything about the legalities of this.  Both the Daily Mail and Politico articles are from the end of January, but I don’t remember hearing about this then. Considering that the articles also state that the congressional aides’ ‘bosses’, such as both the House and the Senate Judiciary Committee Chairmen, were not consulted, I’m a little surprised by that.  Am I just a suspicious cynical alarmist, or is this secretive ‘reacharound’ to bypass normal procedural channels just one more example of trump’s delusional version of presidential power, one that just slipped by amidst the hundreds of other trump delusions?

(sigh)  However…

Maybe there’s hope that there may be a REAL investigation into the trump-Russia cabal. From the Raw Story article:

[T]he Senate Intelligence Committee has ordered more than a dozen individuals and agencies to preserve records related to Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. elections.

According to the Associated Press, a congressional aide confirmed that the committee had sent formal requests that all materials related to Russian meddling be preserved.

The AP notes that the letters were a bi-partisan affair with both the panel’s chairmen, Richard Burr (R-N.C.), and vice chairman Mark Warner (D-Va.) signing on.

The Friday letters come on the heels of a closed door meeting with FBI Director James Comey who spent nearly three hours answering questions Friday afternoon in a secure room in the Senate basement used for classified briefings.”

Finally, some humor amidst the destruction of our world as we know it: if you didn’t catch John Oliver last night, here’s Raw Story’s thread covering it. Enjoy.

This is our Open Thread – say anything.

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The Watering Hole, Tuesday February 16, 2016 -Environmental News and Food Politics

Before the next set of primaries and Republican tantrums about Supreme Court nominees set in, how about a trip to the lighter side? Here’s Galanty Miller’s take on vegetarianism:

“It’s not that I’m against eating animals. Rather, I oppose the inhumane way in which they’re raised. It’s the same reason I won’t eat home-schooled children.

I’m a vegetarian. Vegetarian is a misleading word, though. Forgoing meat does not, by definition, mean eating vegetables. I’m really more of a Doritorian. Especially cool ranch flavored.

There has been a lot written about vegetarianism. So far, I’ve avoided the topic because I’m not sure I have any new perspective to add. But then I realized, “Hey, it’s 2016 America; I write for the same reason that everyone does everything now- to draw attention to myself.

Meat eaters argue that it’s our “biological instinct” to eat meat. Well, to those people who live in caves and hunt down wooly mammoths with a spear, you have a point. However, it’s kind of a stretch to include factory-processed Chicken McNuggets and “biological instinct” in the same sentence.

Have you tried the Slim Jim-flavored Snapple? It’s made from the worst stuff on earth.

By “biological instinct,” you mean survival. It’s our human nature to survive. Neanderthals didn’t have the pasta salad option. Luckily, life is better now. We don’t have to eat meat and we wear pants.”

more…

 

Sunday Roast: Feel the SNL Bern

Bernie Sanders, one of the Democratic Presidential candidates for 2016, made his debut on Saturday Night Live last night.  He appeared in a Titanic skit with his twin separated at birth, Larry David.  Naturally, Bernie always gets his message across!

Sanders shouted, “I’m so upset with the one percent getting this preferential treatment,” before making a suggestion: “Enough is enough. We need to unite and work together if we’re going to get through this.”

“Sounds like Socialism to me,” David said, dismissing him.

“Democratic socialism!” Sanders countered.

“What’s the difference?” David asked.

Mimicking Donald Trump, Sanders replied, “Yuuuuge difference.”

Pretty damn good timing, Bernie!!

This is our daily open thread — What makes you laugh?

First Republican Primary “Debate” open thread

The “Phony Express” clip seems most appropriate here…dunno why…

If there’s enough alcohol on the planet, a couple people might take on the Alternet GOP drinking game, but — FAIR WARNING — if you do, you will die.

gopdrinkinggame

You have been warned!!

Here’s the deal:  All y’all are on your own for watching the Clown Car Clusterfuck, but please feel free to leave your in-the-moment thoughts and impressions in the comments section.  Sarcasm, temper tantrums, and snide comments are welcome — in fact, they’re encouraged!

Do your worst, my Critters and Zoosters, cuz you know the GOP clowns will be doing the same.

Hat tip to our EV for the Three Stooges idea!!

Invisible Obama Speaks Out About His Debate Performance

Tweeter interviews Invisible Obama about his debate performace last Wednesday night.

Tweeter sat down with Invisible Obama for an exclusive one-on-one interview following his disasterous performance at Wednesday’s First Presidential Debate of the 2012 Election Free-For-All.

Tweeter: Invisible Obama, before Wednesday’s all-important first-ever debate between you and Mr. Etch-a-Sketch, your supporters were out there downplaying expectations, saying you would do a terrible job. Now, we all thought they were just saying that because you would then go out and do a great job, and everyone could boast about how you exceeded expectations. What happened?

Invisible Obama: Well, Tweeter, it’s like this. My…uh…supporters….were telling the truth. They knew….I was going to be terrible.

Tweeter: So, the truth is, you lived up to expecations?

Invisible Obama: Not only did I live up to expectations, I exceeded them. I…was awful. In fact, I don’t think the world has seen a worse performance since 1974 when Mohammad Ali did seven rounds of rope-a-dope with George Foreman before knocking him out in the eight round.

Tweeter: So you were just playing rope-a-dope with Mr. Etch-a-Sketch?

Invisible Obama: You could say that. But I have to admit, he did land a good one with that line about not being entitled to my own facts. I mean…facts are facts. My facts and his facts should be the same thing. But…he was pulling so many facts out of thin air that for most of the night I had no clue where he was coming from.

Tweeter: Well, Invisible Obama, I see one problem with your rope-a-dope strategy.

Invisible Obama: What’s that?

Tweeter: You’ve only got two more debates to throw that knock-out punch.

Invisible Obama: Good point.

Sunday Roast: Count von Count

Jerry Nelson died on Friday.  Who the heck is Jerry Nelson, you might ask.  He was the voice of Count von Count on Sesame Street for over 40 years!

I think Jerry Nelson must have had a great sense of humor, in order to do puppetry for most of his life, so I posted this un-necessarily censored video of the County singing about how much he loves to…er, count.  🙂

Rest in Peace, Mr Nelson.  The Count was one of my favorite characters!

HT:  Zoo Sr

This is our daily open thread — I love to @$#*%!